Discussing Alcohol as Fuel leads to THANKSGIVING

Today, I am thankful for many things, including my friends, both at the village and my online friends.   Below is an excerpt from a discussion on our private website, “The Friends of Sewanee Creek”.

ALCOHOL AS AN ALTERNATIVE FUEL
Added By:     Jeanne On Fri, 11/21/2008 11:59:22 am
Category:     Sustainability, Sustainable Energy
Share Your Thoughts *      (See attachments)

Clayton – Mon, 11/24/2008 09:09:32 am
It is already used as an additive in some gasoline brands. Usually about 10%. Currently, it requires more gallons of alcohol to get the same mileage as gasoline

Clayton – Mon, 11/24/2008 09:20:16 am
“Top Fuel” dragsters have used methanol for many years!

Chuck – Mon, 11/24/2008 09:45:45 am
The IRL indy cars have used it for 35/40 years

Steven – Tue, 11/25/2008 10:09:43 am
I have been reading about using alcohol as a fuel a lot lately.I used to be into racing and was around some vehicles that used it. The fuel system had to be heavily modified and the best I remember there had to be considerably more fuel “dumped” into the engine as compared to gasoline.

Chuck – Tue, 11/25/2008 12:26:43 pm
You are so right

Clayton – Wed, 11/26/2008 09:51:03 am
Let’s face it, gasoline is still the most efficient fuel for cars and trucks. It provides the most energy per volume than any other fuels that are mass produced and widely available. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep looking for and exploring alternatives. It does mean that gas is the best we have for now.

Grant Miller – Wed, 11/26/2008 11:40:30 am
Yes, that’s true of pretty much all the conveniences we take for granted. After two years of focusing on becoming self-sufficient, I can attest that it sure is a lot easier to breeze through Publix for convenience foods than to raise it yourself. It’s easier to flip a switch to use electricity from the grid than to make your own (no matter how you do it). It’s easier and more efficient to depend on the water utility than to collect your own water. As simple a task as it is, keeping my gutters clean (so the water in my cistern is pure) requires continuous awareness and vigilance. That goes for virtually everything necessary to live independently.

Our life style, up to now, has been blessed with unprecedented ease and efficiency. Our world has been on a never ending quest for the holy grail of ultimate convenience. My entire career in food service and convenience retailing at 7-Eleven has been all about that quest. Everything we take for granted has been refined and automated to the nth degree. A fragile consumptive market founded on luxury and greed has assured that efficiency rules.

One can literally pass through life without any thought at all, dependent on the work, inventiveness and thought of others. Perhaps that is why children are so addicted to mind-numbing video games that require no work or thought, only quick digital reflexes, and people struggle to find meaning in life.

My wife and I have reached a deep appreciation for our pioneer ancestors who had to make everything they used. Yet we aren’t even close to what they had to do just to survive. We still enjoy many wonderful modern conveniences they lacked that make our lives incomparably easy. Living as we do now is still a choice.

After all that, I can echo your comment, Clay.  “It is worth it“.   I know how panicky I would be right now if it weren’t for the work we have done over the past couple of years and continue to do. The feeling of peace, knowing that come-what-may, you can cope comfortably is truly priceless. The pure joy of total freedom to wake up every day and do what I want to do because I am independent is heady stuff.

As I approach the thanksgiving holiday, I can’t remember a time in my life when I have felt a deeper sense of gratitude for my blessings than right now. Perhaps that’s because the self-sufficient lifestyle, like no other, requires a level of mindfulness and work that gifts one with a true understanding of the value of one’s blessings. Living close to nature assures that one also understands the true source. I am grateful to God for everything He has blessed us with. I stand on His shoulders for EVERYTHING that I have, starting with the very dirt I work in to raise my food. It is ALL a free gift from Him. My cup runneth over. I am blessed beyond measure.

May you all have a truly blessed thanksgiving.

Top 9 Antidotes for hard times

While there is some really good news happening at grass-roots levels with thinking people, there is plenty to be concerned about and to prepare for. I always try to stay positive in my communications.  Sometimes, that is only possible because I’m feeling well prepared and getting more independent every day.

Prepared for what? Read the articles in the link below.
http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/BreakingNews.html

So, how have I prepared?  My private website, “the friends of Sewanee Creek” chronicles that preparation over the past two years. A long time ago, on our forum, I outlined what I consider to be the key elements of preparedness.

Recently I was told by a prospective Villager that what attracted him to the Village is our “authentic” marketing. I think anyone who visits and witnesses how we have focused our resources will plainly see that our interests are in sustainability over green window-dressing. That’s intentional.

We want neighbors who are intelligent, aware, resourceful and ready to contribute within a community that is ready to roll up their shirtsleeves and create real value – together. I don’t think that happens with slick marketing that glosses over the challenges with an appeal to a cushy, yuppie-luxury lifestyle. We have found from experience that our marketing message doesn’t appeal to the masses whose primary objective is ease and comfort and are in denial about what has already happened in our world. That’s a good thing.

Authentic? You bet. Here’s what my family have accomplished over the past two years:
I started with the absolute essentials to sustain life.
1. WATER:
Secured an independent and renewable water supply using rain water catchment.
2. FOOD:
Secured our independent year-round food supply. We set up an intensive garden, improved the soil, began organic composting, implemented a renewable, independent irrigation system, planted, worked and learned how. Built rabbit hutches and began raising rabbits. Bottom line, we raised about 80% of what we ate this summer in addition to canning and preserving a substantial amount for the winter. We are now completing a greenhouse, roughly twice the size of our garden. This winter, our objective is to learn how to raise all the food we need to sustain our family year round.
3. SHELTER:
Built a comfortable, sustainable home right-sized for our needs that incorporates passive solar heating, good insulation, multiple redundant heat sources and potable, independent water supply.
4. FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE:
Financially secured our home and personal land and all personal assets, free and clear of all debt.  Paid off all bank debt on personal property.
5. ENERGY / TRANSPORTATION
Secured renewable transportation. Purchased an all-electric plug-in vehicle that provides adequate transportation between our home and Tracy City.
6. ENERGY / HEAT & ELECTRICITY
Planning to build and implement low-cost renewable, energy solutions for home and greenhouse heat and electricity generation.
7. COMMUNITY / EXTENDED FAMILY:
Educated my extended family about impending failures of global finance, energy and food supply, social disintegration and opportunities of sustainable living. This resulted in a commitment to gathering of family and co-investment in renewable assets and permaculture living.
8. COMMUNITY / THE MOUNTAIN:
Developed relationships with resourceful people who live a sustainable life style in the larger community to provide opportunities for trade of skills, information and other critical resources.
9. COMMUNITY / THE VILLAGE:
Planned, developed and facilitated government planning approvals for the Village. Built key facilities to promote Villager interaction and appreciation of natural assets – the amphitheater, community garden and trails.

Reduced costs on property and slashed prices to attract the right kind of self-sufficient, independent and responsible people to our community at the lowest possible, sustainable cost.

My family and I are at peace with our preparedness and action plans for the future. It has taken more than two years of concentrated effort to achieve that. Most days if you visit, you will find my wife and I personally on the land working with our own hands, learning, building and growing. It’s a big change in lifestyle from that of a senior executive. It is not without its challenges, but we love it. We have a sense of personal connection and accomplishment with what we are building, not to mention the thrill of living in close connection with the beauty and rhythms of nature.

Are you comfortable about your future? If you are one of the intelligent, resourceful and aware people, not in denial, ready to go to work, aware that it will take time, work and the help of other like-minded people, but confident of your own ability and drive to live sustainably, please don’t delay another day. The time to prepare is now.

Having made the transition, having done it, we can confidently help you make the transition too.

Finding Peace in the midst of Turmoil

In my last post, I struck an upbeat note in anticipation of impending turmoil.  Since then, as expected, global financial markets have commenced melt-down in earnest.  Jobs are evaporating quickly and the news is filled with panicked people.
The short-term good news is the relief we are seeing in commodity prices including food, oil and even precious metals like gold.  Longer term, anyone who understands economics can see that we are headed for hyper-inflation.  Our dollar will buy less and less and prices will increase rapidly.  Many think we have already entered an unannounced depression.
Meanwhile, we are enjoying a continued sense of peace and joy in the Village.  How can that be so?  It comes from knowing that no matter what else is happening in the rest of the world, we live in a natural paradise with all of our needs provided for.  We continue to work towards complete self-sustainability within a community of people who are committed to working and playing together.

It’s not too late to find peace in the mountains at the Village on Sewanee Creek.

Optimist’s view of Peak Oil – The new oil end game

One of the great advantages of living in an intentional community like the village is that you join with can-do people who, instead of just wringing their hands about world conditions, are actively engaged in solving problems. That’s a good feeling, you learn a lot and it’s fun.

Examples:
1. This summer, we lived about 80% on the food we grew in our garden and are planning to extend that winning streak through the winter with a green house.
2. We’re working on a green energy system that utilizes our unique local resources to power our home in the woods where wind and solar aren’t good options.
3. Our rain water collection system now gives us the option of living independent of public water. Our water is soft, pure without chemicals and free.

This week, confidence in our financial systems took a major hit with the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, AIG bailout, stock market roller coaster ride, etc.

Here is a TED talk that gives us lots of reasons for optimism about the potential for future world stability on many levels, including financial, ecological, social, and geo-political.
Take a look at this video for an injection of optimism.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/amory_lovins_on_winning_the_oil_endgame.html

PS: For those of you who don’t have the capital to tackle the world’s large-scale problems, but are not satisfied with sitting at the sidelines, join us in the village. We’re working on personal sustainability with some very encouraging results.

Educating a Community to become self-sustaining

I just viewed a youtube video that I suggest everyone take a look at along with the many other wonderful videos produced by peak moment.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajqgOCxGEAo&sdig=1

Here at the village, we continue to stay focused on building a self-sustaining community.  Part of that effort is reaching out to the surrounding rural community that is rich in sustainable resources and culture.

I think independence day should be symbolic of our need to become resourcefully independent of our brittle, oil dependent world.  On the evenings of July 4th and 5th, we will be screening some educational videos on how to become self-sustaining and engaging folks in conversation about proactive measures we can and are taking here at the village.

If you are interested in coming, send me an email or give me a call.

The Self-Sustaining EcoVillage

The press is beginning to wake up to something known as Peak Oil.  Check out today’s Wall Street Journal for a feature article.

Yes, it’s time to wake up and get serious about achieving energy independence on a national scale for many reasons including our economic health, the health of the planet, the human cost of fighting over the remaining fossil fuels, to name a few.

But while we work with civic leaders to change things on a macro level, I’ve always believed that real change must start with me, where I can make an immediate and meaningful impact.  In the short term, my peace of mind and well-being depend on things I can do right now.

That’s why I’m building a community of people who are ready to enjoy an abundant lifestyle and to commit to an old-fashioned concept – a self-sustaining village.

Our mission is to become self-sustaining on four levels:

* Water
* Food
* Energy
* Community

I don’t believe the gloom and doom model is in the cards for those who think and act now.  Life should be sweet.  Send me an email if you would like to explore what life can be.